Brighton and Hove has been put into tier 4 from Boxing Day, meaning pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will close and households can no longer mix.
The restrictions under what is currently the highest tier are similar to those imposed on the whole country in March this year – although there is no time limit on how long you can be outside with a reasonable excuse, which includes shopping for essentials and exercise.
And two people from different households are allowed to meet in a public open space.
Schools will also remain open, and childcare and other support bubbles are allowed.
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said: “Deeply worrying news about further fast spreading variant of covid tier 4 for Brighton will cause so much pain locally, but it’s right thing to do to protect people and inevitable given rapidly rising rates.
“But the Chancellor needs to come out of hiding and support businesses better.”
At a press briefing this afternoon, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know this is difficult. But I also know it’s right to take the action that’s needed to stop this virus.
“It’s important that we all minimise our social contact as much as is possible this Christmas and that will help protect ourselves, our loved ones and the whole country.
“We’ve got to keep our resolve. We’ve got to keep on going with this.”
He said that there were almost as many people in hospital now as there were at the peak of the spring outbreak. But although the three-tier system was enough to contain the old variant, he said it was not enough to stop the spread of the new variant.
The government’s Covid-O operations committee met this morning to discuss further measures amid continuing steep rises in cases across the country.
In Sussex, Hastings and Rother are already in tier 4, along with most of Kent, Essex, London and Surrey.
The latest rate reported for Brighton and Hove is 216.2 cases per 100,000 people in the week to Friday (18 December) when 629 new cases were confirmed.
This compares with a rate of 98.3 in the week to Friday 11 December when there were 286 new cases confirmed – and a rate of 59 cases per 100,000 people in the week to Tuesday 1 December.
Rates are highest amongst the over 85s – with more high levels found in the 25-35 age group.
Brighton and Hove ranks 166th out of 315 council areas. By contrast, in Hastings the rate is 950.8, the 10th highest in the country.
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